Notebook: Jazz 106, Timberwolves 84



Posted Jan 3, 2013 12:53 AM

By Andrew Aragon, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Utah Jazz broke out of a three-week funk by beating up the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84 on Wednesday night.

The Jazz (16-17), who had lost three straight games and seven of their last nine, had six players scored in double figures for Utah. This came after the Jazz learned earlier in the day that starting point guard Mo Williams will miss at least the next six weeks after he undergoes surgery on his injured right thumb on Friday.

Gordon Hayward led Utah off the bench with 17 points. Reserve center Enes Kanter had 15 points and eight rebounds before spraining his right ankle in the closing moments of the game. Paul Millsap led the Jazz starters with 14 points.

Not much went right for the Timberwolves (14-14), who have lost four straight road games and six straight in Utah. Kevin Love and Alexey Shved each had 13 points for Minnesota. Andrei Kirilenko, playing in his first game in Utah as a member of the opposing team, had 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

QUOTABLE: "This was a great win tonight. It showed us what we can do if we concentrate on what we have to do. And this is who we are going to have. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. This is who we have and we have to figure out how we can be as good as we can be with this group right now."

--Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on playing without Williams

THE STAT: Utah put together one of its best defensive performances of the season, and held the Timberwolves to a season-low 35.5 percent shooting from the field. Minnesota also matched its season-low from 3-point range, shooting 2-for-17 from beyond the arc.

TURNING POINT: The Timberwolves were within striking distance of the Jazz at halftime, trailing 53-45. But they fell apart in the third quarter after coming out of the locker room ice cold. Minnesota missed its first nine shots and shot 27.8 percent in the third period. Utah took advantage, opening the third quarter on an 11-0 run as Millsap hit a couple jumpers to lead the way. The Jazz built a 20-point lead and were able to cruise the rest of the way.

HOT: Millsap reacted positively after getting benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Derrick Favors in the Jazz's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. He shot 7-for-8 while also contributing three assists, three steals and a blocked shot. Surprisingly, however, he had no rebounds. Jamaal Tinsley, who will continue in his role as starting point guard for at least the next six weeks, had one of his best games of the season. He had 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and contributed six rebounds and three assists. Earl Watson also filled in nicely at point guard, dishing nine assists.

NOT: Love, who broke his right hand during the preseason, still can't find his shooting touch. He was 0-for-4 from 3-point range and 4-for-14 overall against Utah. His shooting struggles on the road and in Utah are nothing new. Love shot 31.8 percent in six road games prior to Wednesday. Last season in Utah, he shot 3-for-15 from 3-point range and 14-for-44 overall in two games. Each of Minnesota's starters shot less than 50 percent and reserves Jose Barea (1-for-8) and Dante Cunningham (2-for-9) couldn't buy baskets.

QUOTABLE II: "Man, I had great shots. I mean, even before the game my shot felt great. I had another bunch of shots that were right there. It's gonna come. If you tell me I'm taking bad shots and shots that I don't usually make, you're fooling yourself and you're fooling me."

--Timberwolves forward Kevin Love on his shooting slump

GOOD MOVE: Corbin deviated from his usual substitution pattern and it sparked the Jazz. Favors came in early for Millsap, and Millsap spent some time playing with the second unit. The move -- along with other substitution changes -- paid dividends for Utah on both offense and defense.

BAD MOVE: The Timberwolves may have thrown in the towel a little early. They were down 13 to start the fourth quarter, and then didn't play starters Kirilenko, Love or Nikola Pekovic the entire period. The Jazz haven't been great at protecting leads, but Minnesota chose to look ahead to playing Denver on Thursday rather than making a late run at Utah.

NOTABLE: Kirilenko, who was warmly welcomed by Jazz fans after playing for Utah for 10 seasons, grabbed the 4,000th rebound of his career in the second quarter. Tinsley led the Jazz in scoring at halftime with 10 points, and it was the first time he led his team in first-half scoring in more than five years. He had 17 points at the break as a member of the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 15, 2007, against the Miami Heat. Ricky Rubio did not travel with the Timberwolves as he rehabs a sore back. The Jazz scored a season-high 56 points in the paint.

UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Thursday @ Denver, Saturday vs. Trail Blazers, Tuesday vs. Hawks. For the Jazz, Friday @ Phoenix, Saturday @ Denver, Monday vs. Mavericks.